Tamur valley and watershed

Year of compilation: 2005

Site description
The Tamur valley lies in far eastern Nepal in Koshi Zone. The Tamur forms a major watershed extending from the confluence with the Koshi River at 100m in the tropical zone (Dhankuta district) to the Tibetan border above 3800m in the alpine zone (Tapleung district). It includes two important forests of Nepal, one at Tinjure Danda and the other at Milke Danda, both of which lie outside the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area. However, the upper Tamur lies in the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area. The Tamur watershed has an extensive area of broadleaved lower temperate forests of Quercus lamellosa, Castanopsis spp. and mixed broadleaved forests. Some of these forest patches, for example those on Milke Danda, are particularly rich in rhododendron species. Higher up there are upper temperate forests of Quercus semecarpifolia, Abies spectabilis and Rhododendron spp., predominantly Rhododendron arboreum, and are “…arguably the largest rhododendron forests in the world” (Milleville, 2002).

Key biodiversity
A total of 260 species, including 215 possible breeding species, has been reported from the Tamur valley watershed. These include the restricted-range species Rufous-throated Wren Babbler, Spiny Babbler and Hoary-throated Barwing and the near-threatened Yellow-rumped Honeyguide that are probably resident (Halliday and McKnight 1990). There are large areas of temperate forest that support significant populations of species characteristic of the Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forest biome.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mammals recorded include Assam Macaque Macaca assasmensis, Hanuman Langur Semnopithecus entellus, Chinese Pangolin Manis pentadactyla, Clouded Leopard Neofelis nebulosa, Leopard Panthera pardus, Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis, Grey Wolf Canis lupus, Yellow-throated Marten Martes flavigula and Indian Muntjac Muntiacus muntjak. Several species of herpetofauna have been reported in the area (Oli et al. 2002).

Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Forests are rapidly depleting as in the nearby Mai valley, see Halliday and McKnight (1990). Milke Danda has been identified as the best place in Nepal to study rhododendrons. The Ministry of Population and Environment has identified a priority project ‘Rhododendron Conservation Programme’ to conserve the forests in the Milke Danda and elsewhere (Project Code 169 FFMG, MoPE 1998). In recent years, large-scale human intervention and alteration of ecosystems in the area has threatened a number of floral species, inlcuding Taxus baccata, Lycopodium clavatum, Swertia chirayita, Daphne bholua, D. papyracea, Edgeworthia gardneri, Abies spectabilis, Michelia doltsopa, Castanopsis hystrix, Juglans regia, Symplocos spp.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Tamur valley and watershed. Downloaded from on 22/09/2020.